When I picked up our race packets the day before the race, I was surprised by the amount of swag we all received. I knew that I would get a tech race shirt and the kiddos would get a cotton shirt, but we all received vouchers for a free entree at Veggie Grill (Score! I’m a vegetarian.) some goodies from Doctor Will Bar (vegan), Goody Good Stuff gummy candies (also vegan) and Gorge Delights Just Fruit Bar (which probably goes without saying that it is also vegan). We also were given vouchers for a free small Jamba Juice smoothie and a coupon for 2-for-1 admission into the Portland Children’s Museum along with stickers and other items the kids enjoyed… but the most important was the infographic brochure explaining the important work Young Audiences does to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts.
On race day, we arrived with plenty of time to capture pictures in front of the large, cardboard volcano with a fog machine inside. While the kids waited for the race to start, they enjoyed the play equipment at the park, situated next to the start and finish gate. What more can a parent ask for? Happy children is such a huge factor in making any event enjoyable for me.
While they enjoyed those amenities, I enjoyed some pre race yoga (at 9 and 9:30am). Snacks were available right away and my kids were ready to partake in those! Various juice flavors from Odwalla, peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, bagels with cream cheese, orange wedges, chocolate milk and more.
When we queued up for our race, Timber Joey held up the course map while the course directions were explained to us. Give me a loopty loop or two and I’m easily confused. Rest assured, the course is well marked and volunteers easily directed us where we needed to go. Thank you volunteers!
The course was beautiful, but not a course for me to PR on. I ran as best as I could (while also nursing a bit of a sore knee) and enjoyed the views of the city scape behind the reservoir. Very picturesque.
While I was working hard on my 5K, my family was at the “art zone” which opened up after the race started. There, they could paint their faces work on masks and play with bubbles. Live performances were also taking place and they could listen to acapella, drums and other artists. They were so busy and happy with the entertainment that everyone missed my crossing the finish line. I have to admit, this is the first time I had family at a race but they missed my finish. That made me happy to walk up after my cool down and see them busy at work with their art projects. Another fun perk was there was a beer garden and participants 21 and above could enjoy two free beers while listening to the live music or watching the kids at the art stations.
Out on the course, just as I had one mile left until my finish, my route crossed with the 10K runners before they finished. A friend of mine who ran the 10K (and finished first in her age group and in the top 15 participants) crossed my path on her home stretch. “Kill those stairs!” I shouted to her as I had 33% of my race left and she was running hard to her race’s end. I didn’t hear her complain about the stairs afterward, but I’m sure that it is an added challenge to a race. Maybe next year I’ll be better prepared for the 10K course?
Before long, after I had crossed the finish, the Kids Dash started and my Bugaboo and Squeakers were off on their own separate races. My 4 year old is getting excited enough to go run her own pace and require my husband to run with while I help keep Squeakers (not quite 2 yrs old) motivated. When they got to the end, Timber Joey was there to greet the kids with high fives and cheers of encouragement. For an additional $10, parents could buy their kids a finisher’s medal with proceeds to go to Young Audiences and the kids having a memento to commemorate the fun event. We decided to do that, so my husband rewarded them with their medal for a race well ran (or carried by mom a bit… whatever it takes to cross the finish!). They enjoyed the medals and had been wearing them the day following the race. I’m happy to support such a good cause.
I hadn’t ran this event before and look forward to it next year. The 5K had 121 finishers and the 10K had about 86 finishers. This is a small event, but very well executed and I can only imagine it will grow each year.